State Retiree Benefits Fact Sheet – New York

  • December 18, 2007
Even adjusting for size, New York faces bigger bills for retiree health and other non-pension benefits—nearly $50 billion for state employees—than all but a few other states, and yet it is one of the five largest states that has not set aside any money to cover these long-term costs. The state paid $934 million in 2006 to cover the health care benefits of current public sector retirees. The cost would be four times as great if the state chose to pay for benefits as they're earned, as it does in its pension system, and move toward full funding of non-pension benefits. On the pensions side, New York officials say internal calculations show the system to be fully funded, but the state's current accounting methods don't generate a funding ratio, unlike more common methods used by other states. This will change as New York adjusts to a new standard from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board that requires the use of one of the more common methods.